As we face the incredibly dangerous hot-tempered exchanges of nuclear threats between the governments of North Korea and the United, States, we at The Shalom Center recall that we were founded in 1983 precisely to become a Jewish voice on the nuclear arms race, which was then getting very hot between Reagan and Kosygin. ( I had already written three "secular" books on nuclear deterrence and disarmament, and beginning in 1981 I had been developing a Jewish language for addressing the nuclear danger — drawing on rabbinic midrash about the “ Flood of Fire” and the Rainbow Sign as the symbol of preventing such a flood of fire.)
When you approach a city to wage war against it, you shall first offer it terms of peace.
I will create a new expression of the lips:
“Peace, Peace to the one who is far off and the one who is near,” says God…
Wisdom is better than weapons of war.
In a world of extreme, violent power, with leaders who posture dangerously with zealous, immoderate rhetoric, we rabbis in the United States have joined to express a demand and a prayer, based in the sacred legacy of our tradition and the profound suffering of Jewish and world history.
This is a time for diplomacy not destruction, discussion not discord, a leadership of level-headedness not the bravado of brinksmanship. Recent actions of te government of North Korea (the People’s Republic of Korea) represent a severe, urgent threat to the United States but we must not let its leader succeed in his provocations, triggering our fears in such a way that we add to the fury and fire rather than pursue a comprehensive strategy of diplomatic, economic, psychological, and other approaches.